Three weeks ago, Bellmont freshman Henry Faurote was the top seed in the NE8 tournament, wrestling in the semifinals against Leo’s Sean Harris with a lead. With 15 seconds to go in that match, however, Faurote was pinned and dropped into the consolation bracket.
The talented freshman, whose dad was once a medalist and whose uncle (and current coach) was a state qualifier, could have accepted that this was not going to be his year and just gone through the motions the rest of the year.
Instead, he did the opposite.
Faurote fought back that day at Huntington North for third place, defeating Hunter Douglas of Norwell. It’s hard to deny that that match was a springboard for a deep tournament run. Faurote gained the top seed at sectional with that victory and Saturday at the Coliseum, both Douglas and Faurote were standing on the semi-state podium knowing they were headed to the State Finals.
List of Freshmen qualifying for State Finals for Bellmont:
1985-Paul Gunsett (112)
1991-Jason Krider (112)
1992-Tim Myers (103) 6th Place
1994-T.J. Hays (145) 4th Place
1998-Nick Koons (112) 4th Place
1999-Randy Baker (145) 3rd Place
2000-John Sheets (103) Champion
2006-Will Sheets (103)
2006-Tyler Baker (140)
2014-Jon Becker (113)
2014-Bryce Baumgartner (160)
2019-Ike Ruble (106)
2021-Duke Myers (170)
2024-Henry Faurote (120)
Faurote’s desire to reach the State Finals never dimmed despite dropping matches to Douglas in the last two weekends in championship bouts.
Henry has it in his blood. He’s been attending Bellmont matches since before he could walk and he no doubt knew that finishing second to Douglas at sectional and regional did not guarantee that Faurote could not finish ahead of his rival at semi-state.
That’s exactly what happened.
Faurote was drawn with senior Brayden Raber of Maconaquah, a highly-ranked wrestler with a 32-5 record in the opening round Saturday. Less than a minute into the match, Raber was on his back and trailing 5-0.
As impressive as Faurote’s five-pointer was, what was more impressive in the match was the way Henry rode Raber for the entire second period without yielding an escape.
With the Maconaquah senior desperate for points, Faurote scored two more takedowns in the final minute of the bout, breaking the will of Raber, who eventually gave up and was pinned with seconds remaining in the final match of his career. Not one to be flashy or rambunctious, Faurote calmly stood up and had his hand raised, ready to do battle one more time to reach the State Finals.
Having already ended the career of one senior, Faurote made it two in a row with a dominating performance against East Noble senior Blake Byerly, who suffered an arm injury in the first round and was simply no match for Faurote, who was on a roll. Henry led 13-0 by the time East Noble coach Sam Riesen called off the match after a third injury time out called by Byerly.
There was barely a celebration by the calm freshman. He knew he had one more match to win.
With the aforementioned Douglas facing the tournament favorite (Tanner Tishner of Western) in the other semifinal, Faurote dominated Kaid Jackson of Delta in the rubber match between the two young 120s. Faurote sealed the deal in Bellmont’s December dual by not getting pinned against Jackson in a 4-0 loss, then avenged it with a win in the regional semifinals. This time it was the semi-state semis and Faurote was on it, winning 7-0 in the most impressive win of the day for a county wrestler.
While Faurote was no match for Tishner in the finals, he was the only wrestler in the field to make it through six minutes with the Western senior, a four-time state qualifier.
Faurote lost 8-0, then stood on the podium, a few steps higher than both Jackson and Douglas.
Following in his father Ben’s footsteps and down the same path as Uncle Sean (who was in the chair matside for his matches), Henry becomes the next generation of Faurotes to compete in the State Finals.
Only five Bellmont wrestlers have ever finished their freshman season on the state podium. Henry Faurote is one bout away from becoming #6.